Yep, another NECA figure. What can I say... they have a LOT of my favorite licenses. Of those, there is not one I love more than Gears of War. A lot of people know at least a little: a last holdout of humanity battles a subterranean race known as the Locust Horde. And there are chainsaws.
For their Gears of War exclusive this year (last year being the fan favorite Anthony Carmine) they did an interesting little remodel of their just released Locust Grenader. Part of the war between human and Locust in Gears deals with an underground fuel source known as Imulsion. Apparently it can cause quite a few health problems and, as seen in the latter scenes of Gears of War 2, some strange mutated Locust known as Lambents.
The Lambent Locust here is, as I mentioned, a retooled Locust Grenader. The Grenader uses the standard Locust legs NECA has been re-using since the second series Theron Guards and Sentinels. Re-using sculpts is nothing new. Back when I was a kid, the Superpowers line of DC heroes featured the same general body for all the characters with slight detail alterations and different heads. Marvel was doing something similar with their Secret Wars figures and this practice is still in effect today. The Four Horsemen have been making a lot of money for a few companies utilizing this very concept. Re-using parts in a video game however makes even MORE sense. Game developers often re-use parts where they can in order to speed development along. Many of the locust have alterations to a few set main bodies, they are soldiers in uniform after all. On the Lambent Locust/Grenader body, we get a whole new upper torso, arms, and head. Every set of Gears figures has blown away the last. And considering they're releasing nearly three sets a year, that's damn impressive. The body has intricate musculature with tiny, fibrous connective tissue sculpted in for a nice effect. The anatomy has a very solid, yet realistically organic look to it in addition to some nicely used veins. The heads their Locust also feature a lot of little skin folds and stretches.
What makes this Lambent edition sculpt especially worth while is his translucent plastic "veins" running throughout the body. Lambent Locust in the game are very easy to tell apart from their uninfected cousins because they glow. A lot. NECA has recreated this effect by (my theory that I'm pretty damn sure of) sculpting the figure in a translucent plastic and then painting him, leaving areas open so that when light is shown through his back, the clear plastic illuminates. It's an impressive effect and I'm very happy with the results.
Why didn't the Lambent Locust get the LED treatment that Isaac Clarke of Dead Space did? Apparently they looked into it but putting an LED light into a figure requires certain sculpting considerations and, since they needed to use this same body for the standard Locust Grenader and Flame thrower Grenader figures, it was simply not cost effective to do do. While an LED would have been obviously welcomed, their explanation makes sense. The re-using of certain parts throughout the Gears line has allowed them to release a lot of game accurate figures for fans at very reasonable prices. Especially when you actually get one in front of you and can see the intricate sculpting, innovative articulation, and detailed paint (most of the time and always improving). Not to mention the weapons selection.
The Lambent Locust features the same articulation as the standard Series 4 Locust Grenader and I'll get more into that when I obtain the standard figure this month. Suffice to say, there's plenty. He comes with a Gnasher shotgun, weapon of choice to Locust Grenaders.
His weapon features the new peg system NECA has been implementing on their Gears figures in much the same fashion as McFarlane's Halo line: a peg mounted on weapons that can be plugged into a spot on the figure's back to sit in the same fashion as secondary weapons do in game. On the Grenader I actually wish they'd have skipped it. Grenaders, not wearing shirts, have an exposed torso. A weapon hanging from nothing just looks weird, I don't plan to use it, and now there's a hole in his back for it. The standard version wears a couple of straps and I'm hoping his weapon snaps into that and not the figure. Its very possible the standard version will have a strap overlapping the hole so that the peg can slip through the strap, into the body, and appear to be attached to the strap. Here's hoping at any rate. we shall see after I get my hands on them.
All in all, a very cool exclusive. He's a solid representation of his in game counterpart and I really enjoy the illuminating feature. He's very well painted all around and he only cost me $20. Average con price and easily fair for the figure. I'm hoping NECA does more Lambent versions of the Locust Horde, maybe in the form of one of their very popular boxed sets, because I was only able to grab one. If the Lambent are more heavily featured in Gears 3, I'm sure they will. I highly recommend it to any fan of Gears of War or figures with amazing sculpts and fun extra features.